Endowment and Foundation Chief Investment Officer Roundtable

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Endowment and Foundation Chief Investment Officer Roundtable

May 12, 2016

5:30 PM: Check-in

6:00 PM: Welcome and Opening Comments
Christopher Cutler, CFA, Board of Directors, CFANY

6:05 PM: Keynote Address
Brian O’Neil, CIO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

6:25 PM: Panel
Anthony Thai, CFA, Senior Investment Officer, The Wallace Foundation

Colin G. Ambrose, CFA, CIO UJA-Federation of New York’s Endowment and Retirement Plans
Michael Reist, CFA, CIO, Phillips Academy in Andover
Jainen Thayer, CFA, CIO Oberlin College

7:35 PM Adjournment and Reception
Daniel Dagen, CFA, CEO, CFANY


As Endowments and Foundations are faced with a challenging return environment and higher market volatility, the outlook for future returns seems muted when compared to their impressive record of double digit growth generated in the recent past. Most are responding to the lack of readily evident market opportunities by investing in longer-term opportunities such as alternatives, exploring private markets and turning to strategic partners. According to the latest Nacubo-Commonfund study on endowments, the share of alternatives among endowments with over $1bn has doubled in the last decade. This shift has been marked by innovative portfolio themes in the space that include a focus on uncorrelated investments, tail risk hedges, investing in Venture capital etc. which will be discussed by the CIOs and senior investment managers of major Endowments & Foundations at this evening conference.

In addition, we will navigate how these nonprofit organizations are managing multiple objectives and are becoming increasingly focused on risk, managing short-term liquidity and due-diligence in manager selection. As Endowments and Foundations seek to take a more hands-on approach to investment management and increase the complexity of their portfolios by moving into new markets, their perspectives and approach towards these goals offer a valuable lesson for investors.

This event will discuss:

  • How has the endowment model of investing changed in the post-crisis era?
  • What new approaches to asset allocation are CIOs considering?
  • Do alternative investments really add value to the portfolio?